Britain’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has dropped the idea of “reviewing” the location of the UK Embassy in Israel, as suggested by his predecessor Liz Truss. Her proposal was to consider moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that would have recognised Israel’s claim that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. A spirited campaign across British civil society, by supporters of Palestinian equal rights such as the Balfour Project, politicians, diplomats, NGOs, the mainstream and social media and all supporters of the rule of international law, has played a major part in stopping this reckless scheme.
But we must remain vigilant. The British political scene is volatile, election talk is in the air, Israel’s supporters are strong in all main parties and Palestinian rights remain low on the Westminster agenda. A bad idea once said cannot be unsaid, and a bad move can often not be undone, as we have seen with President Biden’s reluctance to return the US Embassy to Tel Aviv, from where President Trump removed it to Jerusalem in 2017-18.
The Balfour Project asks all its members, friends and supporters to keep in close touch with their Members of Parliament about the dangerous situation unfolding in Israel/Palestine.
Meanwhile, on our website, we continue to analyse why the posited move would have been such a disastrous setback in the search for a just solution to the Israel-Palestine question.
Do consider writing to your MP.
Rishi Sunak scraps plans to move embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
4 November 2022
Israel Embassy move would ‘breach 1961 Vienna Convention’
9 November 2022
Letter to UK Foreign Secretary from 27 international law experts says ‘there is nothing to review’ by Professor Iain GM Scobbie, Chair of Public International Law, and Director of the Manchester International Law Centre, University of Manchester
Liz Truss under pressure to drop ‘reckless’ UK Israel embassy move
14 October 2022
The Financial Times, with its long record of incisive Middle East reporting and careful editorial judgment, has added its voice to those urging the British Prime Minister to reconsider her stated inclination to review the question of whether the British mission to Israel should be moved to Jerusalem.
Arab League Parliament condemns UK over review of Israel Embassy location
13 October 2022
Truss and Jerusalem, by William Law, published in the Arab Digest
3 October 2022
Arab diplomats urge Liz Truss not to move British embassy to Jerusalem, Patrick Wintour
30 September 2022
ICAHD UK Webinar with Sir Vincent Fean and Clare Short-Why can’t we get the UK Government to support the Palestinian cause?
29 September 2022
Is there any way that we can engage with our government or is this simply impossible? What can we learn from other NGOs who lobby MPs? What are the best ways for civil society to affect government policy especially with it being so pro-Israel?
Ilan Baruch, former Israel Ambassador warns Britain that to move its Israel Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would risk grave and violent consequences.
Liz Truss moving UK embassy to Jerusalem would be disastrous by Avi Shlaim
28 September 2022
Prime Minister’s Promise to ‘Review’ Moving the UK Embassy to Jerusalem
22 September 2022
Here is a well-argued letter to our Foreign Secretary from Canadian Lawyers explaining why this would be wrong.